The dramatic, poignant and revealing saga of the Redgraves, one of history's greatest families of actors.
For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theater and film while captivating the public eye. Their history is a rich tapestry of singularly talented individuals whose influence is felt to this day, yet their story has never before been told. In The Redgraves, bestselling biographer Donald Spoto draws on his close personal relationships with the family and includes both his interviews and unprecedented personal access to them. The result is a groundbreaking account of this extraordinary clan and their circle, including such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier.
The story began in 1907 with the marriage of actress Daisy Scudamore to matinee idol Roy Redgrave and the birth in 1908 of their son, Michael, who became a famous stage actor and movie star. Michael’s family and wild social circle knew that for decades he was insistently bisexual, notwithstanding his marriage to Rachel Kempson, one of England’s most glamorous and admired actresses.
Their daughter Vanessa, a great and revered performer, is the only British actress ever to win Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Awards--achievements that have been paralleled by a profound humanitarian commitment even as she tackled difficult and controversial roles.
Vanesa’s sister, Lynn Redgrave, led a triumphant and complex life in her own way, too. From her performance in the movie Georgy Girl to her prizewinning play about her father and her Oscar-nominated performance in Gods and Monsters, Lynn established herself as a very different Redgrave.
Corin Redgrave, their brother, was known for his acclaimed performances onstage and screen--and he was a tireless and outspoken political radical.
The family tradition of distinction continues with the careers of Joely Richardson and Jemma Redgrave and reached a high point in the life and career of Vanessa’s daughter, Natasha Richardson, who earned a Tony Award for her role as Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret. Natasha’s sudden death after a skiing lesson in 2009 shocked and saddened admirers of her work and graceful spirit.
The product of more than thirty years of research, The Redgraves recounts the epic saga of a family that has extended the possibilities for actors on stage, screen, and television in Britain, America, and around the world.
Documents the life and whirlwind career of the iconic Hollywood actress-turned-European princess, drawing on previously unpublished interviews to discuss her conservative education, Oscar-winning film achievements, and role as a mother to royal children.
Her name is synonymous with elegance, style and grace. Over the course of her extraordinary life and career, Audrey Hepburn captured hearts around the world and created a public image that stands as one of the most recognizable and beloved in recent memory. But despite her international fame and her tireless efforts on behalf of UNICEF, Audrey was also known for her intense privacy. With unprecedented access to studio archives, friends and colleagues who knew and loved Audrey, bestselling author Donald Spoto provides an intimate and moving account of this beautiful, elusive and talented woman.
Tracing her astonishing rise to stardom, from her harrowing childhood in Nazicontrolled Holland during World War II to her years as a struggling ballet dancer in London and her Tony Award–winning Broadway debut in Gigi, Spoto illuminates the origins of Audrey’s tenacious spirit and fiercely passionate nature.
She would go on to star in some of the most popular movies of the twentieth century, including Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, The Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady. A friend and inspiration to renowned designer Hubert de Givenchy, Audrey emerged as a fashion icon as well as a film legend, her influence on women’s fashion virtually unparalleled to this day.
But behind the glamorous public persona, Audrey Hepburn was both a different and a deeper person and a oman who craved love and affection. Donald Spoto offers remarkable insights into her professional and personal relationships with her two husbands, and with celebrities such as Gregory Peck, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Robert Anderson, Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney and Ben Gazzara. The turbulent romances of her youth, her profound sympathy for the plight of hungry children, and the thrills and terrors of motherhood prepared Audrey for the final chapter in her life, as she devoted herself entirely to the charity efforts of an organization that had once come to her rescue at the end of the war: UNICEF.
Donald Spoto has written a poignant, funny and deeply moving biography of an unforgettable woman. At last, Enchantment reveals the private Audrey Hepburn—and invites readers to fall in love with her all over again.
“She was as funny as she was beautiful. She was a magical combination of high chic and high spirits.” —Gregory Peck
“In spite of her fragile appearance, she’s like steel.” —Cary Grant
“Audrey was known for something which has disappeared, and that is elegance, grace and manners . . . God kissed her on the cheek, and there she was.” —Billy Wilder
“There is not a woman alive who does not dream of looking like Audrey Hepburn.” —Hubert de Givenchy
“Her magnetism was so extraordinary that everyone wanted to be close to her. It was as if she placed a glass barrier between herself and the world. You couldn’t get behind it easily. It made her remarkably attractive.” —Stanley Donen
“She has authentic charm. Most people simply have nice manners.” —Alfred Lunt
From the Hardcover edition.
Acclaimed biographer Donald Spoto strips away the legends from the life of Francis of Assisi to reveal the true story of a man who has too often been obscured by pious iconography. Drawing on unprecedented access to unexplored archives, plus Francis's own letters, Spoto places Francis within the context of the multifaceted ecclesiastical, political, and social forces of medieval Italy, casting new light on Francis and showing how his emphasis on charity as the heart of the Gospel's message helped him pioneer a new social movement. This nuanced portrait reveals the multifaceted character of a man who can genuinely be said to have changed the course of history.
This definitive illustrated survey of all of Alfred Hitchcock's films is a book no movie buff or Hitchcock fan can afford to be without.
The monumental scope of Alfred Hitchcock's work remains unsurpassed by any other movie director, past or present. So many of his movies have achieved classic status that even a partial list--Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, Spellbound--brings a flood of memories. In this essential text, reissued on the occasion of Hitchcock's centennial, internationally renowned Hitchcock authority Donald Spoto describes and analyzes every movie made by this master filmmaker. Illustrated throughout with shots from each film, The Art of Alfred Hitchcock also includes a storyboard section, a complete filmography, and “A Hitchcock Album” (sixteen pages of photos) as an added celebration of his life.
The inspiration behind BBC2's The Girl starring Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, Spellbound by Beauty examines Hitchcock's relationship with his leading ladies including Tippi Hendren and Grace Kelly. Hitchcock is also the subject of an upcoming film, Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren due for release in 2013.Spellbound by Beauty examines Alfred Hitchcock's well known collaborations with the leading ladies of his day, and, in so doing, delves into his creative life and his uniquely curious professional and personal relationships. The result is a singular kind of life story - a book about film and film stars; business and power; sex and fantasy; romance and derailed psychology. Drawing on explosive, never-before-published material and details gleaned through his friendship with Hitchcock, along with archival material and personal collections only recently made available, Donald Spoto casts a new light on this most famous of directors. He traces Hitchcock's professional and social rise and deals frankly with his strange marriage to Alma Reville, his distance from his daughter, Patricia, and his obsessive relationships with a number of his leading ladies from Grace Kelly and Kim Novak to Tippi Hedren.
Elizabeth Taylor has been called the last great star of Hollywood's Golden Age. Her legendary beauty and luminous performances continue to enthral movie fans nearly seventy years after she made her screen debut, aged only ten. From the wide-eyed MGM ingénue she became both a respected, double Oscar-winning actress and a larger-than-life, million-dollar movie star; a scandalous tabloid favourite and a dedicated activist. She was a wife, a widow, a lover and a mother; as multi-faceted as the diamonds she adored. Elizabeth Taylor's life - and loves - never failed to capture the imagination of the world.With comprehensive and perceptive insights into her iconic movie career and her fascinating relationships, including her passionate romance with Richard Burton, Donald Spoto's peerless biography offers a captivating portrait of a much-loved, and much-missed, Hollywood legend.
This biography draws on a series of unpublished interviews and offers a startling and intitmate portrait of one of the most glamourous icons of the 20th century.In just seven years (from 1950 through 1956), Grace Kelly made eleven feature films. They established her as one of the screen's iconic beauties, and as a performer of rare intelligence and wit. Donald Spoto, a personal friend of Kelly's in whom she confided, is in a unique position to tell the story of her transformation from convent girl from Philadelphia to last star of Hollywood's Golden Age to European princess. In this revelatory biography, Spoto draws on interviews with those who knew her - from James Stewart and Cary Grant to Fred Zimmerman - as well as a series of taped interviews with Kelly which have never before been published.A film of Grace Kelly's life, Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth will be released in 2014.
Born in Brussels in 1929, Audrey Hepburn was the daughter of a British father and a Dutch Baroness. But when she was five, her father deserted the family. With the outbreak of war in 1939, her mother thought they would be safer in Holland than Holland Park, but although they survived the German Occupation, the experience left its physical and emotional scars.Back in England again, Audrey studied ballet with Marie Rambert. After a few West End musicals and minor film parts, she was spotted by the author, Colette, to star in a stage version of her novel, Gigi. And then Audrey's career took off. Her debut screen role was the Princess in the enchanting Roman Holiday. It won her an Oscar.She went on to bring her unique grace and high spirits to a number of highly acclaimed films - from Funny Face and The Nun's Story to My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Robin and Marian.For a while it looked as though her personal life would follow the Hollywood dream. But her marriage to Mel Ferrer was not to last. She married and divorced a second time, and there were other passionate but short-lived affairs, some revealed for the first time in this book, but her relationships were never entirely successful. With all the insight, background knowledge and innate sympathy for his subject, qualities that have made his biographies of Hitchcock, Dietrich, Monroe and Bergman such international successes, Donald Spoto truly captures the spirit of an elusive, beautiful, talented and vulnerable woman.